The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

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Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2005 11:07:24 -0800
From: "Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Hannah" <>
Subject: [techbooks] REVIEW: "The Mac OS X Command Line", Kirk McElhearn

BKMOSXCL.RVW   20041223

"The Mac OS X Command Line", Kirk McElhearn, 2005, 0-7821-4354-7,
%A   Kirk McElhearn
%C   1151 Marina Village Parkway, Alameda, CA   94501
%D   2005
%G   0-7821-4354-7
%I   Sybex Computer Books
%O   U$34.99/C$48.95/UK#24.99 800-227-2346
%O   tl i rl 2 tc 2 ta 3 tv 2 wq 2
%P   438 p.
%T   "The Mac OS X Command Line: Unix Under the Hood"

The introduction lays out some of the structure of the Mac OS X
operating system: the traditional GUI (Graphical User Interface) on
top of the command line based UNIX.  McElhearn also notes that the
book is probably best used as an exercise tool: try out examples and
get familiar with a given command before moving on.

Chapter one presents the Terminal program, as it provides access to
the command line, and demonstrates some basic commands, mostly
concerned with file creation and management.  More on the Terminal,
primarily settings for appearance and function, is provided in chapter
two.  Following that is an "Interlude."  The interludes are too short
to be chapters themselves, but it isn't completely clear why they
can't be integrated with the other material.  This first one, for
example, involves a discussion of command syntax, which could have
been broached with the first command line illustrations, or could have
waited until more sophisticated commands required the explanation.
(In responding to the draft of this review, the author has noted that
the interludes address significant topics that have application in
more than one section.)  Chapter three outlines the UNIX help systems,
such as man and whatis, and is followed by an interlude dealing with
filenames and directory paths.  However, the directory information
could have been presented in chapter four, which deals with directory
navigation.  The next interlude, on redirection of input and output,
could also have been included with chapter five, which works with file
commands.  The interlude on cloning your startup folder does not seem
to fit easily into the chapters thus far.

Chapter six presents tips for making command line use faster, such as
filename completion and the command history.  The locate, find, and
grep search commands are described in chapter seven.  Utilities for
viewing files are listed in chapter eight.  Chapter nine explains some
of the text processors and editors available.  Printer and queue
management commands are in chapter ten.

Chapter eleven outlines compression and archiving utilities.  Accounts
and permissions are in twelve (followed by an interlude on the use of
sudo, for operating with other permissions).  Various network
applications are described in chapter thirteen.  Chapter fourteen
looks at process management.  Maintenance and utility software is in
fifteen.  Shell configuration, in chapter sixteen, revisits and
extends some of the points from chapter two.

The writing and explanation of the UNIX commands and utilities is
clear and well presented, even if the structure is a bit odd.  Any
user should be able to begin working with the UNIX command line with
this book as a starting point.

copyright Robert M. Slade, 2004   BKMOSXCL.RVW   20041223

======================  (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
Any noun can be verbed.                             - Alan J. Perlis    or

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